After France's defeat in the French Indochina war (1946-54), the country was divided into North Vietnam and South Vietnam. War again broke out in the south when Communist-led guerrillas (Viet Cong) attempted an overthrow of the South Vietnamese government. Beginning in 1961 the U.S. provided support troops to help the south defeat the communists. The war continued to escalate as more American soldiers were sent into the conflict. After a major Viet Cong defeat in 1968, opposition to U.S. involvement in the war grew. As troops were withdrawn, bombing of the North increased. In 1973 a cease-fire was declared and more soldiers returned home. The Vietnam war ended in 1975 when the North Vietnamese launched a final offensive; South Vietnamese opposition collapsed and the Viet Cong rode victoriously into Saigon.
Although during the final years of the conflict, opposition to the war increased and was in part, responsible for President Johnson's decision not to run for re-election, the Vietnam War did not have the same effect on the person in the street that the World Wars did. There were no shortages and soldiers' tours of duty lasted only a year.
It was, however, the first "televised" war with graphic battle scenes broadcast daily into our homes on the evening news. The war affected our hearts and minds more than it did our physical selves.
The Vietnam Conflict was an unpopular war which caused demonstrations on some college campuses and forced many young men to move to Canada to avoid fighting and losing their lives for a cause in which they did not believe. Quiet Reedsburg felt the affects of that War when three of their own were killed in action during a three year period.
Information obtained from the archives of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. lists the following:
Cpl. Thomas John KJemp, 19 years of age, was killed on November 6, 1966 in a non-hostile accident in a helicopter crash on land in South Vietnam, served in the Army in Vietnam for one year. He was born August 14, 1947. Location of his name on the Vietnam Wall Memorial is: Panel 12E, Line 034, Reference No. 788.
PFC Michael Prothero, 19 years of age, died of wounds caused by an explosive device on the ground in the Province of Thua Thien in South Vietnam on June 19, 1968 as he served in the Army. Location of his name on the Vietnam Wall Memorial is: Panel 55W, Line 001, Reference No. 15506
Pvt. Jerome Schuett, son of Alvin and Dorothy (Farber) Schuett enlisted in the US Marine Corps in February, 1967 and was inducted on June 12 of that year. He took his boot training at Camp Pendleton, CA and was sent to Vietnam on November 14th. Only three months after he arrived in Vietnam he was killed by small arms fire on the ground in the Province of Thau Thien in South Vietnam on February 13, 1968. He was buried in Greenwood Cemetery with the Marine Corps and the VFW conducting the gravesite rites. Location of his name on the Vietnam Wall Memorial is: Panel 39E, Line 025, Reference No. 6374.
Many more from this area fought in the Vietnam Conflict, many were wounded — physically, as well as emotionally. Future generations will remember their bravery, sacrifice and service to our country.